Friday, February 8, 2013

The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip by Carrie King - 2012 SWBA Runner Up: Childrens

From the Sharp Writ Book Award Judges:
  • I gathered 5 children between the ages of 5-7 and read them the book while they looked at the pictures, as if it was story time at a local public library. When we had finished I asked them about the story and from the children, I developed my score.  The first page was a total stop to the story for a raft of questions - possibly too serious a beginning  for young ones. 
  • This book would likely be better suited to UK readers where the setting of the story is located, and where the frequent use of hyphenated names might be more acceptable.  There is a great deal of anthropomorphization of the animal characters, palatable in the Children’s version, which is an Early Reader—not a Picture Book.  The illustrations seem poorly reproduced in the printing process. Perhaps others will find them charming in a primitive fashion.
  • Picture books are a specific art form, much like poetry.  One of the fallacies for many beginning authors (as well as the general public) is that a picture book is easy to write.  It IS a good place for a beginning children's writer to start, mostly because the discipline of the genre is wonderful training and the aspects of plot are somewhat less complicated.  The writing should ideally be beautiful and terse, and the illustrations should be equally or even more important than the text, as picture books are illustration-driven.  Too much telling and not enough showing through illustrations.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks to both Yash and Ann; both from Bothy Books and Carrie King for all SWBA have done for us!

    Before we submitted The Joni-Pip Picture Book to The Sharp Writ Book Awards, a fellow British publishing house warned us that American Children start formal school two years later than we do in the UK and Americans sometimes do not ‘get’ the way Brits write. I am therefore not surprised that the review you have posted above is not very favourable, in fact it staggers us that Joni-Pip came second at all with such comments but we are pleased, nevertheless!

    As to the Illustrations, a very famous English Art Gallery Representative asked to buy an Original of Ms King’s work from The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip, Picture Book. Also, Britain’s Top Book Expert, Clive Farahar, advised Carrie King not to sell any of her illustrations individually, as ‘they will be even more valuable as a Collection, one day’.

    Incidentally, we asked for the Picture Books we submitted to you, to be printed in the US, for speed in getting the books to you, so any complaints about the ‘poor printing’ should be addressed to an American printing company.

    This Review might paint a more favourable picture, methinks:-

    'As I am a nursery nurse I thought it would be nice to read ‘The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip, Picture Book’ to my aged 2-4 pre-schoolers. I thought it might be slightly too old for them but they enjoyed it none-the-less.

    The children loved the illustrations and we had fun trying to find parts of the story in them such as the white horse on page six, which was tricky but made the children feel included. They also liked spotting the characters.

    My room really enjoy poems and are starting to recognise rhyme and alliteration in books and so the names Carrie King chose for places like 'Berry Bush' stood out for them and were easy to remember when talking about the book at the end.

    Charlie and Owen particularly loved the 'song of the river' and asked me to read it over and over while they bobbed along!

    The group tried to think of words which rhyme with 'river' and they came up with 'shiver' and 'slither'. By the second reading the children were finishing the lines which end in 'river' for me!

    The animal characters are lovely and the group particularly loved 'Ethelred-Ted', whom they called 'Red-Ted'.

    They guessed correctly that there was a hedgehog under the leaves and found it really funny that leaves had stuck to Hetty's prickles!

    Some of the morals the characters carry with them were noticed also. The children take very good care of our garden and vegetable patch and many recycle at home so they understood why Nuttingham Squirrel was so upset by litter in his woods.

    I just wanted to share our experience of Carrie King’s wonderful story with you.

    Caroline Dixon
    (Wife of BBC Radio Presenter, Paul Dixon)

    Which just goes to show The Joni-Pip Picture Book works with and delights little children, despite a Critic's opinion and expertise.

    Dave Dee for Bothy Books